MPs Receive UGX 5M For Electoral Bills Passage Top story

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In short
A total of 375 Members of Parliament MP have today received five million shillings each as sitting allowances for attending a special sitting to pass two electoral bills. One of the MPs described it as a disturbance allowance.

A total of 375 Members of Parliament (MP) have today received five million shillings each as sitting allowances for attending a special sitting to pass two electoral bills.
On Wednesday evening, MPs passed the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill 2015 and Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill 2015.
In the laws passed, parliament scrapped facilitation given to presidential candidates to finance their countrywide campaigns, while nomination fees were raised from eight million shillings to twenty million shillings.
The MPs also voted to raise nomination fees for parliamentary aspirants from 200,000 shillings to three million shillings.
For the better part of today, several legislators were seen strolling towards the Office of the President, through the fourth floor of the north wing of parliament to pick the money.
Some of the legislators who URN spoke to, on condition of anonymity, say the facilitation is a disturbance allowance paid out to them for being recalled from recess to attend to special duties.
This is the second pay out to MPs within a month. Recently, when legislators were recalled to consider a government motion to create 23 new districts, they received 10 million shillings allowance.
URN has learnt that the money was not paid out by the Parliamentary Commission, which is charged with payment of salaries and allowances of MPs.
"As parliament we have not paid out any monies to MPs. I have spoken to the chief accountant who has confirmed that no payments have been made so I don't know where the money is coming from," Chris Obore, the Director of Communications at Parliament told URN.
This move has not gone down well with anti-corruption activists, who describe the MPs as selfish and acting with deliberate impunity on their part.
Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), says the timing of the amendments is suspect and a move by government to coerce MPs to pass unjust laws using financial perks.
"That money would have been channelled towards provision of services in several districts. Imagine they are paid for their jobs but still want more due to greed and selfish interests," Kagaba told URN on phone.
Kagaba is rallying citizens to file public interest litigation against parliament in court to stop what she terms as gross misuse of taxpayers' money.
Currently, the parliamentary commission pays a consolidated figure of about 23 million shillings to MPs in salary and allowances.


About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.